Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Mistakes were Made Part III
10:28 pm est
So we have reached the stage of development where the mind is making choices as to what is inside itself,
and what is outside. These are choices, made by the mind, based on its previous experiences and its analysis of them.
Increasingly we are experiencing what we define, and experience as consciousness as adults. This
development is the same process as the development of attention. Indeed, the formation and sharpening of
attention is the development of consciousness. What we are conscious of is what we focus our attention
Dynamically, the development of attention
is a reorganization of the different functional regions of the brain. The differentiation of the various
functional regions of the brain is in part due to the structure of the brain, especially for the more primitive, somatic,
regions. The primary sensory and motor regions of the cerebrum are also generally defined by the structural
connections to their respective sensory and motor neurons, although even at this level there is some variation. (Mostly.
There would seem to be extreme cultural instances where their functions are significantly affected.)
In the earliest stages of development, the architecture of the neurons
of the different regions are similar, as therefore also their functionality. The different functionality, and indeed the different
neural structure of the various regions of the brain, (These regions may be regarded as corresponding to the different Brodmann
areas of the cerebral cortex. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brodmann_area ) are primarily the result of the conditioning of the brain during its critical period of high plasticity,
starting with its differentiation from the rest of the embryo.
region of the brain is unique in its relation to all the other regions of the brain. Therefore each region receives uniquely
different inputs from the other regions of the brain, even during the period there are no inputs to the sense organs. Already
there is a diffuse structural and functional differentiation. And during this earliest stage, there is also already activity
in the neural pathways from the sense organs to the primary sensory cortex in the brain. This also affects structural and
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Mistakes were Made, Part II
10:12 pm est
So the first source of mistakes of understanding made by the developing
mind is a result of the changes in the cycles of its internal feedback, as these develop and become the mind, and the mind
becomes more complicated, more self-aware. There are various stages of development between which the understanding of self
changes dramatically. And the old understandings are forgotten, because they are incompatible with the
new understandings. However, this does not mean they did not happen, or that they were merely noise.
The second source of mistakes is found
in the interactions the developing mind first has with the external world. It is tempting to imagine the developing mind growing
out from a minute center, toward the inward growth of the world defined by its developing sensory apparatuses. A more apt
image would be a hugely complex and busy network of neurons, whose activity is progressively slowed, or reduced, or diminished,
and differentiated by the signals from its environment as mediated by the senses through their inputs into the brain.
This model makes the mistakes more understandable, since the dynamic
network, seen from its own point of view, has no clear interior or exterior. Indeed, the concepts of interior
and exterior do not exist. The network is only self aware, in the most primitive sense of being able to
act on and modify itself. It is not yet aware of even the existence of anything else. Sensory
input acts on an already active and dynamic system. However, despite the boundary problem, the network
must have a rudimentary self-image, a self-image that involves some sort of mapping of the body onto the brain.
One particular of the self image is that it includes a ‘proto-face.’
We know it is possible to form a fairly precise self image in the absence of external sensory input, including
apparently, some notion of a self, and an at least partially formed notion of an exterior. Without such
a self image, that is without a structure of internal neural actions fairly closely mapping onto the body, massive and unlikely
adaptations would be required for say, horses, to take one instance, to walk within a few hours of birth, after their nearly
identical subjective experience in the womb. The action of the sensory apparatus, even in the absence of
external stimulation, seems adequate for this conditioning, though even for the simplest minds, the process is not yet complete.
For the horse, experience beyond the womb is required to finish the formation of a self image.
And an even greater amount of development is required for the more complicated
human brain. Indeed, it may be, because of the greater complexity of human interaction, the more completely self-conditioned
brain of an animal would be a disadvantage. At birth, the human self-image and boundaries are not nearly
as clearly defined as for more primitive mammals. The result of this is that in the newborn, the mind cannot
clearly distinguish between self and the world. So at birth, the self expands into its new environment,
which is incorporated into the self as part of the self.
This is different and deeper than the later processes of conditioning, which the mind perceives as adapting
to an external world. These early experiences go toward forming the mind’s identity. They become
a part of the person, part of who and what the person- feels itself to be. The mistake is that something which is contingent,
the environment, is incorporated into the identity as something which is essential to that identity. Some
of the environment is universal, shared by all, but most of it is not, and merely a result of the immediate situation the
mind is born into. These contingent elements stand in the way of understanding the essential self.
Now these early experiences are mediated by an unfinished perceptual
apparatus. The finishing requires the interaction of the environment and the brain, to both sharpen and differentiate the
senses. Sensation penetrates to the deepest levels, those most distant from direct input from the senses.
There it acts on these regions of the still developing mind. But because the senses are not completely differentiated,
the senses bleed into each other. And because they are not sharpened, they tend to be ‘flat,’
that is lacking depth, and ‘fuzzy,’ where different object of perception are not clearly distinguished.
This sharpening and differentiating process
also works upon the deeper levels of the brain as well, which part of the brain is also ‘unfinished,’ in the sense
of being incompletely conditioned to its environment. The very nature of ‘ideas,’ such as they
are at this stage imagined, can be thought of as both flatter and fuzzier, lacking character and overlapping more.
Although, because idea formation also involves bleeding in from the senses, they are also more intense; one might say
more meaningful, especially where they involve the sensations of feeling.
Conditioning of the brain proceeds from the senses inward.
Although all levels experience conditioning at the same time, the process is fastest, and reaches ‘completion’
soonest, at the level of the primary sensory cortex, and proceeds more slowly the further along the path of sensation one
looks. (The process is never completely complete.) The deeper layers of the brain act
upon the sensory layers, sharpening and differentiating the image they perceive, and becoming sharpened differentiated, although
at a slower rate, in turn. Thus the prefrontal cortex, that part of the brain most distant from the sensory
inputs to the brain, is the last to mature. (The prefrontal cortex is also strongly modified by input from the motor cortex.)
However, this does not mean that its development is not affected, and often profoundly so, by earlier experience.
The interpretation of experiences in the world,
however, still depends on the previous experiences of the brain, and the conclusions the brain reached during its earlier
stages of development. During this stage, decisions are still being made, and the brain is still undergoing
changes in state. These decisions can be roughly characterized as a progressive relegating of increasing
portions of its environment to the ‘outside.’ That is, more and more elements of the world,
which were once considered a part of the identity, (and in a sense we will discuss in the next part, still remain so,) are
assigned a place outside that identity. This does not happen all at once, or evenly. Inanimate
objects which are close, but not too close, tend to be externalized quickest. This is because they occupy
a greater part of the mind’s attention, and yet are unresponsive to the mind’s manipulation. Their
image in the mind becomes fixed the quickest. Animate objects, intimate objects, and distant objects, take
longer. Thus, for instance, a mother, a stuffed animal, the space in a closet, all take longer to externalize,
because their image in the brain takes longer to fixate. Because of this, their image in what is increasingly
becoming an unconscious space, is also larger. Indeed, because of the development of an unconscious, the
result of the narrowing of attention and its increasing focusing on the environment, these objects acquire a special character,
and depth. This depth develops, oddly, as a result of inconsistency in the mind permitted, or perhaps caused,
or perhaps it causes, the development of the unconscious. The unconscious mind, still including these objects in its identity,
still believes it can affect them. Indeed, the unconscious mind is still involved in modulating the sensory cortex.
But the conscious mind, more conditioned by the environment, has externalized these objects. Thus,
the action of the unconscious mind on the external object is perceived by the conscious mind, and interpreted as the action
of that object. So, the stuffed animal may be perceived to talk.
In the third part, we will further detail the separation of the self from the world. In particular we will
discuss the externalization of that image of self, God.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Mistakes Were Made
8:27 pm est
We all grow into the things we come to believe. What we believe
is the result of the journey of our mind throughout our life, from just after inception to where we are now. And
the things we believe, and how we think about those things, are entwined with our experiences in the world, experiences that
start even in the womb.
brain, the substrate of our mind and its beliefs, does not start out unformed, it does start out extraordinarily plastic and
malleable. This is necessary, because it must quickly adapt to one or another of the enormous variety of possible human cultures
it might be born into. This adaptation consists of countless changes, many irreversible, to the very structure
and functionality of the brain. Some of these changes are independent of culture, and, indeed are common
to all development. Other changes are specific to each person's culture and parenting.
is naturally variation, even among those changes in the brain which are most general and independent of culture. Each brain
is unique in the detail of its original formation, is unique in its earliest development before it gains experience through
interacting with the world, and unique in its interaction with that world. And the face of the world in
which each brain, each mind, finds itself, is unique to that mind.
And it is during this process of development that the mind decides for itself what is true and real, and what
is false, based on its experience, and based on what it already knows.
However, there are two possible sources of mistakes. In fact, mistakes originating from these sources are
inevitable, and even necessary, and, for the full development of the mind, must be overcome later in life.
The first of these mistakes originates from the process of mental development
itself. In particular, at the beginnings of development, the mind makes observations, and makes decisions
on these observations, without reference to any external world. In fact, in the beginning, the mind is
not aware that any such world exists, or even that it has an ‘exterior,’ until its sensory apparatus begin to
be conditioned by that world, and through that apparatus, the brain itself.
Caution should be used here with the idea of awareness. It is certainly not like the awareness we each now
have, one which has been conditioned by our experiences in the world. It is an awareness which matures,
continuously and gradually, but also goes through distinct stages, which are neither continuous nor gradual. The change from
each earlier stage to the next one may be regarded as a decision, based on conclusions reached by the mind in its earlier
stage. However, in this new, more ‘developed’ stage, the mind does not reason the same way
the mind did in its earlier, more ‘primitive’ stage. Thus, the reasons for any decision, and
the decision itself, are forgotten. (This process is reflected in the intellectual processes of the mature
mind. When a decision, or a conclusion is reached, often the assumptions and rationale and even the evidence
that went into reaching that decision are forgotten. The conclusion becomes the basis for further rationality,
and behavior, that is, the conclusion becomes an assumption. Consider, for instance, how much you remember about
when and why you first decided how you were going to walk for the rest of your life. Or the earlier decision, of how your
voice was going to sound. Or the later one, of how you were going to dress.
The reason this process results in mistakes is because the brain, the mind, at these earlier stages of development,
is perfectly rational. The decisions it makes, which alter the way it processes information, are the correct
ones needed for its further development. This implies that these earlier, more primitive ways of processing
information have their domain of validity. They are based on the evidence as perceived and interpreted by the undeveloped
brain. However, the more developed mind of the later stages rejects these processes as having any validity at all, because
it does not remember the occasions when it was valid. This is a mistake. Actually, it’s
the same mistake repeated at least several times, though with differing consequences, since each causes a different alteration,
and in general, actually, a different restriction, on the brain’s ability to process information.
We will go into two particular aspects of these mistakes. The
first considers the role of emotion in cognition. Only in the fully mature brain does rational thought
seem to completely separate from emotion, though emotion may still provide motivation. However, in
the earlier stages of development, emotional and intellectual processes were more thoroughly entwined, and in the most primitive
states inseparable. This implies that certain understandings of the early brain are not reachable by intellect
alone. In particular, the facts known to that brain, and the processes available to manipulate those facts, are inaccessible
without engaging the relevant emotions. This is not to say these facts and processes cannot be represented
in the brain with out involving the emotions. But it is to claim that the meaning of these facts cannot
be appreciated, and their proper processing cannot be accomplished. One can claim that these more primitively
understood facts and processes are not relevant to the larger world. I personally believe any claim to
justify ignorance, such as this one, needs to be substantiated.
second particular aspect we will go into is the role of logic in the functioning of the mind. We give the
Three Laws of Logic pride of place in our intellectual pantheon, and in the rationalities of our daily lives, and
do not often appreciate their limitations. Part of this, of course, is that we often ignore them in our
daily lives, for the reasons that the assumptions under which we live those lives generally do not bear close scrutiny. Yet,
rather than examining those assumptions, we pretend to logic, with the result that our thought and behavior is often incoherent.
How these inconsistent assumptions are formed, and some of the consequences of their inconsistency, will
be looked at more carefully in the next part.
early, pre-intellectual stages of development of the brain, the brain had an apperception of the entirety of its experience,
that is, of its entire world.
In the realm of the intellect, logic is both necessary and limiting.
Each branch of mathematics is developed, according to the rules of (some form of) logic, from a set of
consistent assumptions. These assumptions are different for each branch of mathematics. Each branch of
mathematics is, in at least an informal sort of way, complete, in itself. Generally, different sets of
assumptions are not consistent with each other, but by moving between different sets of assumptions, we can move between the
different branches of mathematics. Now we use mathematics to describe the world, but of necessity, we use
many different branches. This would imply that the universe cannot be described using one, or any, consistent
set of assumptions. Thus, if we insist that the universe must be consistent, we can never come to an understanding
of it. Each branch of mathematics, as it were, provides a different perspective on reality, a perspective
which is complete in itself, and to come to an understanding of the whole, we must transcend the limitations of logic.
However, this cannot be done if we are restricted to intellect. We can only understand each part at any time.
For our intellect to deal with any other part, it must relinquish its grasp on the first.
In the next part we will examine the necessary mistakes the world imposes upon the developing mind.
Some are general and culturally independent. Others vary according to culture and parentage.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
9:33 pm est
There is God, as God really is. And then there are the billions
of images that each of the billions of people in the world have of God. Since each of those people is
God, each of those images is a reflection of God. And each reflection is a true and faithful representation of God. Each
image is an image of God as God really is. But though they are each true, they are each contingent images,
each image contingent on the experience of the particular individual.
Each individual’s image of God comes from the mind of that individual, formed by the experience of that
individual, and ultimately from his deepest unconscious. Each image is a simplified
image, of course. And, since the mind is experienced in only the limited dimensions of the world, and since
God, and even the world itself as the world really is, which is God, are in greater dimensions, the image of God in the mind
is a simplified image of God, in reduced dimensions.
However, the unconscious is the individual’s inner self. So, each of those
images of God is an image of the individual’s own inner self. Each individual is what they imagine
their God to be. They are conscious agents of their God, who is their inner self.
Now the God of their imagination has two images in their mind, which are reflected one behind the other. One
is the conscious image of God, the image of God the individual describes and professes. Behind this image
is the other, their unconscious image of God.* It is this unconscious image of God which defines the actions
of the individual. It also shapes and limits the conscious image of God, and the conscious mind itself. In
particular, it limits the ability of the conscious mind reflect upon and examine the unconscious image itself.
The unconscious image of God is a higher dimensional image of God than
the conscious image. One reason is that the unconscious image is not limited by the constraints of logic
that tend to restrict the thinking of the conscious mind. Because of this, the conscious image of God will tend to be, in
some sense, logically consistent. The unconscious image of God, however, need not be, and indeed, cannot be logically consistent.
The desire for logical consistency by the conscious
mind may indeed usually be the most important barrier between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. However,
it is not the only barrier, and like the others, it can be overcome. Indeed, in some
ways consistency is often one of the easiest barriers to the understanding of the self and God to overcome. The
other barriers are tied in with the individual’s emotional experiences. Of these barriers, early
barriers to understanding will be contingent on the individual’s earliest experiences in the world. For
some individuals, some of these barriers may indeed be the most difficult. The later barriers to the understanding
of the self and God are essential barriers, common to all men.** They arise in the experiences of the mind
during its earliest development, before it interacts with the outer world.
Now the conscious image of God need not be consistent with the unconscious image, and indeed, most likely
will not be. When this is the case the individual’s actions will not consistent with their speech.
The individual will say one thing, and do another. However, this does not mean the individual will
perceive his actions to be inconsistent. In fact, the individual’s actions will likely be justified
in terms of what he says, no matter how inconsistent they may seem to others. Indeed, the greater inconsistency
will be more vigorously defended, since the greater the inconsistency, the deeper it must be based in the emotional unconscious
to be maintained. Reason and self reflection must be more strongly blocked, because the link which justifies
action with word is not rational, but ‘sub-rational.’ The very structure of his thought will be a reflection of
what he unconsciously believes God to be. That is, his thought will be a reflection of his unconscious
image of God.
His actions, then, not only reflect
what he unconsciously believes God to be, but are a realization of what he unconsciously believes God to be. He
is not merely an agent of God, but he is his God acting. Or, more precisely, he is his unconscious image
of God, acting, for that is what he believes his God to truly be. And in this he is correct. But, his unconscious
image of God consists of many contingent features of God. These contingent features overlay the deeper, essential features
of God, which are those features which are defined by those experiences which are shared by, which are common to, all men.
These contingent features, or characteristics of God, are peculiar to the individual and the details of
his growth and psychological development in the world. They are thus peculiar to his experiences in the
world. They are features defined by his experience of his earliest upbringing. These features are defined
by his experiences with his family, and his culture. These contingent features, these characters, develop into the religion
and the values he comes to espouse. Since the individual does not remember many of these experiences, the
features of his image of God defined by these experiences remain unconscious, and they are anchored by emotion in the unconscious.
They are the characteristics of his conscious thinking and personality.
Contradictions laid at this level, combined with later experiences, can result in any of a great variety of
life trajectories. No two persons’ experiences of development in the world are identical, and neither
are any of the lives that result. No two persons’ contingent experiences are the same. No two persons’ images
of God are identical. Indeed, even among essential experiences, there is some variation, and so some variation
in result. Thus, there is even variation between essential images of God, although the deeper we go, the
more alike the experiences become, the more universal the perceived characteristics of God.
The deeper into the unconscious we go, the deeper into God’s essential
self we go, and the less we are subject to contingent images of God, which are those reflected in the conscious and shallower
unconscious mind of the individual. In a sense, essential features of God are beneath the contingent features
of God. These essential features of God are those defined by the experiences of the mind before it interacts
with the world. Some contingent features may also be defined at this time. Some essential
features are also defined while the mind first interacts with the world, but before the mind is aware that it is interacting
with the world. And some contingent features are also defined by experiences at this stage of development.
So what are the barriers to the understanding of the self, and God?
As the mind develops, it realizes truths, truths
about itself, and truths about its world. Each of these truths is an experience, a profound experience
freighted with intense emotion. Each truth must be experienced in the development of the mind, and then
suppressed, so the mind can continue on to the next phase of its development. Each truth must be experienced.
The mind then makes the decision to move on, the decision itself forgotten.
Each of these truths, each of these- emotional experiences, is both a barrier, and the overcoming of that
barrier. And to overcome the last barrier is to know God, and to know the self, as It truly is.
I think it’s It. It’s been a while, and
is of course, not literal. A different analogy might be described more in terms of differentially habituated
networks, the deeper networks requiring increasing degrees of emotional involvement to activate. The appearance
from above is not the appearance from below.
**My current thinking is that the
only difference between the essential experiences of men and women, and thus that their essential experiences are otherwise
identical, is that men are alone in the void, while women experience the void within. However, there still remains the later,
sexually differentiated development of the brain, and thus the mind. Although there is significant overlap
in the distributions of mental physiology and psychology between the sexes, the means and variations of the distributions
are, in certain ways, different.
Friday, February 27, 2015
10:37 pm est
Why is the world so obdurate? Why is it so hard
to effect change?
6 years ago, we discussed the reason
why an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God might choose to be less so. http://www.truthabouttheone.com/2009.05.01_arch.html Here we will discuss the problem from a more- human view.
The conclusion is that we act and believe that we want a world of substance, and the more we can control reality,
the less substantial, and the less satisfying, it becomes.
We hunger for substance. We hunger for the ‘real,’ the ‘authentic,’
the ‘genuine.’ We work harder, and are willing to pay more, for something we believe is an
‘original,’ and not a copy, something ‘hand-made,’ and not off some assembly line. We
think the ‘authentic’ has more substance.
observe that we each start with a body. (Some would say as a body.) Our minds come encased, or perhaps entwined is
a better way to put it, in a body which comes with some serious limitations in space and time. Not only that, the body comes
with needs which must be fulfilled, some periodically, some daily, some moment to moment. These demands
of the body require the individual to act in certain ways in the world.
Because the body seems so small, and the world so big, the world does not seem very responsive to its actions.
Look how hard it is to do anything, especially some comparatively large and complicated project, building a house,
say: Plans must first be made, the resistances of the world, the problems it offers, anticipated.
Then material must be gathered. It must be worked. It must be placed.
It must be assembled, to yield the final result. Each step takes time and effort. Each
step must overcome the opposition of reality.
the more difficult it is to get things done, the more obdurate the world seems, the more real it seems to be.
The same goes for the other people in the world: The more one controls them, the less substantial
they become. The more independent they seem to be, the more real they seem.
But this is not enough. We also think things, we
believe things that make the world seem more ‘real,’ more ‘substantial.’
Most believe they are not God. Of these, some believe that there is
no God, and that the world is totally obdurate: That only by actual physical intervention, by physical action, can it be altered,
and that the mind, that belief, of itself, can have no effect on it. In a recent survey, 4/5ths of philosophers,
for instance, believe in some form of ‘non-skeptical realism,’ basically, that the world is as REAL as it can
be. Most philosophers also believe in some form of determinism, which is as rigid a universe as you can
get. All freedoms, all choices are, to them, to some degree, illusory.
There has been some criticism of philosophers, lately, as being somewhat conformist and narrow in their thinking.
They should be clawing at the edges on known reality, trying to find out what is behind the illusion. Pacing
back and forth, trying to figure out the nature of their cage and its philosophical implications. But this,
of course, would call into question the reality of their world.
what about the religious? They believe in a God, and often their God can do anything, which would seem
to detract from the substance and reality of the believer’s world. But do they not make their God
as great and powerful as possible, even impossibly so? Does not this aggrandizement of their God make them
relatively small and powerless in His world? And often He is an authoritarian God, who commands obedience
to often arbitrary and rigid rules, with draconian punishments. Clearly this sort of behavior from their
divine ‘Master’ lends weight and consequence to the worshipper’s actions, and makes their world seem more
‘real’ to them.
And then there are the Ignorant.
One can be highly skilled and knowledgeable in a narrow space, yet ignorant of the principles of the wider world beyond.
Since such ignorance makes it more difficult to operate effectively in that wider world, this adds to its substance.
This thesis has interesting social and political implications. The richer
the rich become, the easier it is for them to do things, particularly things close to themselves, like build ever larger and
more houses for themselves, and immerse themselves ever deeper in ever greater luxury. They want more,
and they get more of what they want. But does this satisfy them? We should expect not,
because the more money, the more power they accumulate, the less real, and the less satisfying, their world becomes to them.
They become increasingly isolated from the consequences of their acts. Further, the more power they have over other people,
the less ‘real’ these people would become. The rich would become increasingly lonely and alienated.
They would become increasingly lonely and alienated, and indeed increasingly isolated from the wider world.
And indeed in the wider world, as the people in it become less substantial, the wealthy feel is less moral weight against
treating the world, and the people in it, badly.
We might expect the wealthy to use their power to undo this, that is, that they would act to relinquish at
least some of their power, to make their experience of their world more satisfying to themselves.
But they are in denial. They must act to reduce their
power, but because they are in denial, because they must deny that the problem is they have too much power, they must seem
to themselves that they are augmenting their power, at the same time they are in reality destroying it. Thus
we would expect their accumulation of wealth to be increasingly through the manipulation of the economy, rather than through
the actual improving of it: To exploit and undermine the economy, rather than investing in it.
Of course, progress itself presents an interesting conundrum.
As the members of a society become more wealthy, the more they are able to effect and control their immediate environment.
Yet as society becomes more complicated, the less the members of that society become are able to effectively manipulate it.
That which they are able to control becomes more immediate, while beyond that the greater world increasingly escapes their
powers. But rather than becoming more real, that greater world becomes less real, as it increasingly escapes their attention.
The more we can manipulate the world, the less
substantial it appears. Of course, there is a happy medium. A person wants some control,
at least enough to gratify one’s needs and least the most important of one’s desires. To be
absolutely powerless is also horrible: Too much reality.
For that is who You are.
Whether or not You choose to believe that You are God,
the One God, that of course is your divine prerogative.
As for the reality, You are God, whether You want to be or not. So Welcome!
Here You will find some
answers to some questions You may have about Your divine nature, and the nature of Your creation.
If you are
satisfied with your
life, your faith,your
God, you are
But of course,
who am I to
is only God.
God is known by
Faith and belief comprise a very important part of our lives. A person's beliefs in
many ways define who they are -- how they see themselves, what they want out of life, and more.
On this web site
I'll offer a personal account of my own beliefs. I'll describe how my beliefs have changed my life in profound and
exciting ways, and how I think they might change the lives of others.
I'll also be sure to provide links to
my favorite sites as well as information about organizations that help strengthen or support my beliefs., or provide interesting
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